NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Democratic Policy Making with Real-Time Agenda Setting: Part 1

B. Douglas Bernheim, Antonio Rangel, Luis Rayo

NBER Working Paper No. 8973
Issued in May 2002
NBER Program(s):   PE

We examine democratic policy-making in a simple institution with real-time agenda setting. Individuals are recognized sequentially. Once recognized, an individual makes a proposal, which is immediately put to a vote. If a proposal passes, it supercedes all previously passed proposals. The policy that emerges from this process is implemented. For some familiar classes of policy spaces with rich distributional politics, we show that the last proposer is effectively a dictator under a variety of natural conditions. Most notably, this occurs whenever a sufficient number of individuals have opportunities to make proposals. Thus, under reasonably general assumptions, control of the final proposal with real-time agenda setting confers as much power as control of the entire agenda.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w8973

 
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